Protect your pool, keep the water clean and balanced, and enjoy your pool longer. Here’s a breakdown of the best digital pool testers.
Testing your pool frequently and consistently is one of the best things you can do for your swimming pool.
Knowing the chlorine, pH, alkalinity, hardness and cyanuric acid levels in the pool water helps you keep your water sparkling clean, protect the pool equipment, and helps you enjoy your pool for longer.
When it comes to testing your in-ground or above-ground swim pool, there are a couple of options.
First, you got your old school pool test strips. They are perfect for smaller pools and beginner pool owners. They are low-priced, easy to use, and provide a quick and reliable breakdown of water chemistry.
The only problem with test strips is that you won’t get an exact color. You need to eyeball the color matches each time you test the water. For example, you might think the alkalinity is set to 150ppm but the color doesn’t match perfectly to the strip
And secondly, and what we are going to cover in this guide, are digital pool test kits, which are a little pricier but are more accurate, giving you a clear and exact overview of your pool chemistry.
LaMotte Color Q Pro 7 Digital Pool Tester
⭐⭐⭐ Best overall pick for digital pool water tester
LaMotte makes the best digital pool tester kit on the market. Hands down. Loved and recommended by countless pool professionals, it quickly and very accurately tests for free chlorine, total chlorine, bromine, pH, alkalinity, calcium, and more.
The LaMotte Color Q Prol 7 works with a photometer that instantly reads the color of the water sample, giving you a precise reading of the test factor. Fill up the vials of water, add reagent solution, and boom—instant and accurate readout of what your pool water is up to.
No more wasted trips to the pool store. No more wasting time eyeballing color matches. And no more needless and expensive repairs to your pool because of out-of-whack pool chemistry.
Compared to your regular old school test strips, the LaMotte Color Q is a little pricier, typically costing around $275-300 (check Amazon for current pricing and availability), but when you consider how critical proper water testing is to your swimming pool, both in terms of repairs and enjoyment, it’s easily worth the upfront investment.
Pool Lab 1.0 Photometer Digital Pool Water Tester
⭐⭐ Runner up – best digital pool test kit
The Pool Lab is another excellent choice for the more serious pool owner (or even commercial pool specialist).
The Pool Lob 1.0 Photometer measures 13 different variables in the water, including all of the main ones: Free, combined, and total chlorine. Stabilizer (cyanuric acid). Chlorine dioxide. Ozone. Total and calcium hardness. Alkalinity. And even urea.
Packaged with three AAA batteries to help you hit the water running, the Pool Lab 1.0 comes with a detailed user manual that guides you step by step in using the tester.
The water tester comes with a bunch of bells and whistles for tracking water chemistry including an app and desktop software, making it easy to see how your water is doing over the course of the year. Despite being a basically commercial-grade option, it’s price-point is affordable, costing around $180 (check Amazon for current pricing and availability).
AquaCheck Trutest Digital Reader
⭐ Best low-cost digital pool water tester (for test strips)
Want a digital pool tester with the affordability of a test strip? The AquaCheck TruTest Digital Reader gives you the reliability of digital with the affordability of test strips. The device works by taking your test strips, inserting them into the read tray, and in about fifteen seconds gives you a more precise measurement compared to eyeballing colors.
The AquaCheck gives you a breakdown of the big three with your pool chemistry—free chlorine, pH levels, and total alkalinity. Powered by AA batteries, the unit is tough, water-resistant, and easy to use.
The device is super well-priced, at around $55, making it an excellent low-cost digital pool water tester…that’s also kind of a test strip kit. Both of best worlds!
Solaxx SafeDip Digital Pool Water
Designed to measure salt levels, pH, free chlorine, water temperature, and more, the Solaxx SafeDip is a handheld digital pool water tester that has an extra-large LCD readout and a rugged design case.
One of the reasons you should spring for a digital reader is that it gives you a more specific reading than you would get with a test strip.
With the Solaxx SafeDip Tester you don’t get a precise reading but a “low,” “good” or “high” result when testing. Which, to be honest, doesn’t make them that much better than the strips (especially when you consider the $200-250 price tag).
About a third of reviewers do love it, however, but compared to the LaMotte Color Q Pro 7 it’s outclassed as a digital pool tester.
pHin Digital Water Tester
The ultimate dream for most pool owners is a “set and forget it” system for cleaning and maintenance. We spend a lot of time testing, cleaning, and fixing our pool over the course of the year. So when tools come along that promise a hands-off solution we are going to take notice.
The pHin Digital Water Monitor and Tester is a big step in this direction. Drop the unit into your pool or hot tub and it pumps data in real-time to an app on your phone via Bluetooth. When things get funky with your pool chemistry the app will let you know, taking a lot of the guesswork out of balancing your pool water.
At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Half of the people who buy it absolutely love it. They appreciate the graphs on the app showing pool chemistry, the notifications of when to take action, and even what products to use at what time.
The other 30% of reviews are on the opposite end of the spectrum, with frustrations about the need to purchase an annual subscription, a battery that cannot be changed (the manufacturer notes it is supposed to last for a couple of years, but a few users had theirs die in less than a year), and some inaccurate readings.
Reviews are very hit or miss with this product, so while the premise is awesome and the technology is headed in the right direction, the pHin Digital Water Tester still has some work to do.
Looking for more guides and reviews on pool cleaning and maintenance products? We’ve covered plenty below.
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5 Best Chlorine Tablets for Keeping Your Swim Pool Sparkling Clean. Nuke bacteria and algae and keep your pool clean and sparkling with the best chlorine tablets for swimming pools. Let’s do this.
5 Best Pool Thermometers for Your Backyard Pool or Hot Tub. The right pool thermometer helps keep your pool running properly and comfortably. Here’s a breakdown of the best ones on the market for backyard pools and hot tubs.